Why Ping Is a Stepping Stone to Social Commerce

Howdy DutyI am a huge fan of Om Malik. I just read his post on Apple’s Ping service, and have a difference of opinion. Om points out that it’s great that Apple is finally adding a social layer to their iTunes store. He goes on to mention that it’s about time, because Amazon has done a great job with this, and has enabled social commerce like letting bloggers become affiliates to sell products that Amazon offers (I am an Amazon affiliate, for instance).

But what I might have missed in the post was whether Ping was going to enable me to sell Apple’s wares in some better way, or whether it was going to let me promote other people’s things inside their social platform without being part of the ecosystem.

Said another way: it looks like Ping wants me to tell you which of Apple’s offerings I like without giving me any money for helping them make sales.

I might be wrong. I read it a few times, but I don’t see it.

So, what they’re saying (in my words) is: iTunes 10 lets you help us market our stuff to your friends and to follow artists we sell in our store.

Hey, it’s great that Apple’s putting a social layer on something finally, but as for whether this is social commerce, I’m going with “not so much.”

Social commerce is where there’s a relationship opportunity that benefits all the parties involved. When I share with you that Donald Miller’s book is one of my favorite books of 2010, and you buy a few hundred (as you have), I’m grateful that I’ve connected you with a book I love. I’m grateful that Amazon sends me a buck or two (I think it’s like $1.50) for every book I guide to your hands. And hopefully, when you read it, you’re grateful that you were alerted to such a useful book.

That, to me, is social commerce.

Ping isn’t that, but maybe it’s on the way there? I hope so. I’m glad Om talked about social commerce. It’s yet another reason why GigaOm is one of my top 5 blogs.

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